It has many names – Hell, the Pit, the Infernal Reaches, the Lower Planes, the Abyss, the Haunt of the Reaver, the Evil. Call it simply the Infernum for now, but know that simple name conceals an infinite number of horrors. The darkness below the planes descends infinitely into unfathomable depths of perverted flames, endless circles of torment and evil. Layer after layer, plane after plane, demon-lord after demon-lord, evil upon evil, death after death until the mind shatters and the very soul is consumed. A thick pall of gritty, oily black smoke hangs over the Infernum, the rising ash of billions of burning souls. It is a mercy for those viewing it from the upper planes, for it blocks the Infernum from sight. The name, too, is a mercy. If we were to look upon Hell, or enumerate all its evils, we would surely go mad.
The below values are just for the outer layers of the Infernum, and lower reaches may have quite different properties. Go to Hell at your own risk.
Getting there… and BackEdit
It is very easy indeed to get to the Infernum – just lead a life filled immorality, cruelty, and evil deeds and you shall be conveyed there soon after your death. Travellers who wish to visit the Infernum before they are condemned there face a somewhat more difficult task. The Lower Planes are relatively easy to reach by magic – even plane shifting is a fine option (admittedly, this is largely because all the Infernum is equally dangerous, so inaccuracy is a minor hazard compared to infinite fiends and pits of boiling agony).
Natural portals to the Infernum are practically non-existent; occasionally manifesting in places of terrible suffering or foulness, but are soon sealed by heroes or the efforts of the celestial host. Artificial portals and gates are slightly more common, but these are also sealed or kept under surveillance by the Firmament. Any attempts to translate out of the Infernum to the Material Plane draws the wrath of heaven. Most demons must use guile and stealth to escape the pit, or rely on mortal summoners to draw them up through magic. The other route out of the Infernum is to climb back up the Chasm.
Survival in the InfernumEdit
Listing the spells and wards needed to survive here would take an entire book. Survival here is complicated by the sheer size of the plane – an infinite number of layers mean a more-than-infinite number of terrains. One region of the Infernum might be a frozen wasteland, next to an ocean of blood, next to a plain of teeth and razor-sharp blades, next to a torture chamber where whole worlds are scourged, pierced and wracked. A wise traveller should scry or otherwise determine the local environment before visiting a region in the Infernum.
The one effect that is almost a requirement is something to hide the traveller’s alignment. Any Good characters show up like beacons against a background of foulness. A paladin or good cleric will attract flocks of fiends unless his alignment is shrouded or he is under the protection of a more powerful fiend.
Features & PropertiesEdit
|... to Astral||7||Coterminous|
|... to Mal||7||Coterminous|
|... to Chasm||7||Coterminous|
The infinity of the deeper layers of the Infernum will not be explored here. This will focus on the Mountains of Sin, as this is the region encountered by most planar travellers. Evil wears many, many faces; some are fair, some foul, but all deadly. So too does the Infernum present an infinity of aspects. The outer rim is known as Feuerring, the moat of hell. Feuerring is a ring of boiling liquid and tortured souls, choked by poisonous gases and shoals of floating islands inhabited by demonic guards. By the standards of the Infernum, this is practically a welcome mat.
Beyond Feuerring, the Mountains of Sin surround the inner layers of the Infernum. These massive mountains are the terrain most often visited by travellers, as most portals open here and visitors are… expected. The Mountains rise out of the surrounding flames like teeth; every surface is jagged, treacherous, or both. Towers and castles inhabited by all manner of horror and fell beast emerge from the stone like mangled limbs.
Sins in StoneEdit
It is said that every sinful act adds a pebble to these mountains; if true, then hope is fading fast, for these mountains are taller than any natural range. Each mountain represents a different sin, from the foothills of Falseness and Deceit to the vast peaks of Atrocity and Murder. Each mountain has a ruler aligned to its particular misdeed; succubi flock around the Mountains of Lust and Illicit Desire, balors stalk the slopes of Wrath, while hezrou and dragons dwell in the peaks of Greed. These mountains are aware of their natures; if any such sin is committed by an extraplanar creature while standing on the appropriate mountain, the mountain tries to claim him. The character must make a Will save (DC 20) or have his alignment move one step towards the alignment of the mountain (Greed and Lust are neutral evil, Envy and Vanity are lawful evil, and Sloth, Wrath and Gluttony are chaotic evil). If the character’s alignment matches the alignment of the mountain, he is either struck by an imprisonment spell (Save DC 33) as the mountain tries to absorb him. (Alternatively he becomes a native of the Infernum, gaining the Outsider (Infernum) type and subtype, and slowly transforms into a fiend over the next few months).
These towers are located near portals and mountain passes. At the heart of each gatehouse is one or more stones of shift guidance, to bring travellers closer to the gatehouse. Each gatehouse is ruled by a fiendish lord of at least bebilith status, although glabrezu, mariliths, and barbed devils are more common. By ancient compact, these gatelords are sworn not to destroy travellers on sight, but instead must grant them an audience. A traveller can negotiate for the protection of such a gatelord and for the service of a guide to the lower reaches.
The minimum fee for such aid is at least 500 gp per traveller per level; this figure is doubled for good characters and tripled for good paladins or clerics. At the top of each gatehouse is a great cage containing a single soul, set alight using demonic magic. In its agonies, the soul is warped to the size of a giant, and appears as a burning skeleton of white light. The soul is horribly sensitive to any form of planar travel other than the innate plane shift or gate ability of certain fiends, so any arriving travellers cause the soul unbearable agony. This allows the gatelord to locate any opening in the plane within a range of thirteen miles from the gatehouse. The soul projects a beam of burning light that acts like faerie fire outlining the travellers for 1d10 minutes. There are tens of thousands of fiends and hellish vermin lairing amid the crevasses and caves of the Mountains of Sin who are attracted to the light of these beacons.
These fortifications are essentially holiday villas for the fiends. Hell is thick with condemned souls, oceans and swarms of the damned things. There is so rarely time to take pride and joy in the craftsmanship of agony and punishment, to bring exquisite agony to one soul. The Torture Palaces, then, are reserved for the most deserving of the damned. In these castles, everything is designed specifically to bring pain and sorrow to a single individual. Some are incredibly complex machines of pain; others are reconstructions of the life of the damned soul, where the worst events in his life are repeated endlessly; others are dream-keeps where the damned is made to alternately forget and reexperience his death over and over again. Torture Palaces do make excellent hiding places; there is usually only one major fiend in residence and the lesser horrors avoid the villas for fear of disturbing its master.
Inferniculars are quick paths down into the depths. They are sluices made from the spines of hellworms. A character sliding or flying down an infernicular is transported to another layer of the Infernum at great speed. The surface of an infernicular is exceedingly slippery; anyone trying to stand on the floor of an infernicular without falling into the slide must make a Balance check (DC 30) each round or slip into the abyss.
The wicked thornbushes that grown on the slopes of the Mountains of Sin are sown as traps for the soul. The spirits of the damned catch on the thorns like straggly bits of wool or droplets of dew. Navigating through a stand of thornbushes requires an Escape Artist check at DC 10. If the check fails, the character is pierced by thorns dealing 1d4 points of damage. Furthermore, the character’s soul is caught on the thorns. It requires a Will save at DC 16 to disentangle one’s soul from the thorns, and other characters may use an Aid Another action to help. If a character’s soul is left behind, it may be claimed by the demon who finds it.
Infernal Taint (CR6)Edit
The evil of the Infernum is a palpable thing. Characters who travel in the Infernal Realms may have their bodies tortured and their minds broken, but worse is the pallor that falls upon their souls. After every day spent in the Infernum, a character must make a Will save (DC 20). If the save is failed, the character suffers a cumulative -1 profane penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws and skill checks. A character may remove this penalty by willingly shifting his alignment one step towards the opposite alignment (so a paladin will move from Lawful Good to Neutral Good to True Neutral to Neutral Evil to Chaotic Evil; Neutral Good characters can choose to end up as either Lawful or Chaotic Evil). A protection from evil effect removes the profane penalty for the duration of the effect.
Lava Tongues (CR12)Edit
The Mountains of Sin are not volcanoes per se; they may, however, vomit forth molten rock and sulphurous fumes, the flames in their guts are unnatural hellfire. These flames do not merely rise and fall as the mountains erupt and go dormant – instead, the flames worm their way through and around the peaks like serpents of living flame. These vast tongues of lava can be up to ten miles long, slowly crawling and writhing around the fringes of the Infernum.
A lava tongue is not a monster and cannot be fought using conventional means; it is hateful fire animated by a malignant, hellish will. It moves at a rate of 100 feet per round and is 1d20 x 10 feet wide. Any character caught in the flow takes 20d6 fire damage per round and must make a Swim check (DC 25) or be dragged under. All metal is affected by heat metal. Some lava tongues are under the control of the local demonic lords, who use them to form moats or lakes of burning rock around their holdings.
The damned are hurled down from the Halls of Order, through Chasm, and fall from the Pit into the Wood of Damnation. From the perspective of a traveller in the Infernum, the Pit is a massive gash in the skies of hell, ringed with green flames. Souls fall like shooting stars, burning up in the black air. The Pit is the main entrance to the Infernal Realms, and hence is fortified beyond compare. A thousand massive keeps of hellstone surround the floor of the pit, and legion upon legion of demons stand watch for an invasion from the Chasm. At the same time, the Pit is the main exit from hell, so the landscape is littered with the ruins of escape attempts, such as folly-towers that reach hundreds or feet into the air, balloons and skyships of repentance, ladders and catapults and burnt spellbooks of all sorts. The portal to Chasm is only a few hundred feet (1d20 x 50 feet) above the ground, but the air is filled with flying demons who drag would-be escapees down.
The Wood of DamnationEdit
The Wood of Damnation is a forest of thorny trees that grows directly beneath the opening to Chasm. The thorns spear the souls of those who fall from the Pit, where they wait in agony until a demon plucks them like fruit and carts them off to their eternal punishment. Items and treasures as well as all the junk of the planes is dumped down the Chasm, so the undergrowth is thick with decaying and broken wonders. Characters wandering the Wood may find all sorts of valuable goods, if they can ignore the screaming of the pinned souls, the evil and animated trees, and all the other dangers of the Infernum.
The ruler of the Wood of Damnation is a nalfeshnee druid named Abhoth. He has fused himself with the tree of a fiendish dryad, the Wormwood Queen. He has learned to draw on the power of the souls pinned to his branches, and is a fearsome power. The two are allies, but she secretly covets her husband’s power, and has whittled away his support amid the trees.
The Court of Bountiful InjusticeEdit
The Court of Bountiful Injustice (Large City):
AL LE; 40,000 gp limit; Assets 50,000,000 gp; Pop 25,000; Mixed (50% fiends, 25% damned, 25% outsiders). Power Centers: The Court of Bountiful Injustice (LE), Guild of Demonic Attorneys (LE), Barukiel the Pit Fiend Governor (LE)
There is no appeal for a soul sentenced to eternal punishment. There is only the accounting at the Court of Bountiful Injustice. The fiends are – theoretically – open to bribes to win freedom for a damned soul. In truth, the best fate that can be won is a kingship amid the flames or a position in the armies of the Infernum. The only purpose of the Court is to calculate how large the bribe should be.
The massive courthouse is a labyrinth of tunnels scratched into the rock. This labyrinth is of immense complexity, as it is a direct manifestation of the complexity of the laws and precedents related to bribing the nalfeshnee. Subsidiary labyrinths contain the thousands of scrolls and tomes that detail the sale of souls, and souls are traded in the Tattered Market above the labyrinth. Lawyers and orators are common in the tunnels surrounding the Court, hawking their skills and (lack of) virtue to prospective bribers. The gold or magic given in bribes is funnelled back to the other planes, fuelling the schemes of the Emissaries of Hell or other fiendish agents.
The denizens of the Infernum are uncountable in number and unquantifiable in evil. Every sort of demon and devil can be found here, along with hell hounds, achaierai, barghests, yeth hounds, and so on, as well as fiendish versions of thousands of other species. The other major denizens are the damned, the souls of the evil dead. These appear to be an incorporeal facsimile of how they appeared in life, stripped of all equipment and clad only in grey rags.
Creating the DamnedEdit
‘Damned’ is a template that can be applied to any humanoid or monstrous humanoid, referred to as the base creature. The creature’s type changes to ‘undead’ and it gains the ‘incorporeal’ subtype. It uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
HD: Increase to d12
Speed: Same as the base creature
AC: Same as the base creature
Attacks: Same as the base creature
Damage: Same as the base creature
Special Attacks: Same as the base creature, but the damned are incorporeal and usually lack incorporeal touch attacks
Special Qualities: A damned retains all the special qualities of the base creature, and adds:
- Solid to Fiends (Su): The damned are not incorporeal to the attacks of fiends and fiendish objects. An Infernum-forged weapon acts like a ghost touch weapon against the damned, while an infernal cage can trap the damned. Fiends can grapple with the damned freely, but the damned cannot normally attack fiends back.
Saves: Same as the base creature
Abilities: Same as the base creature
Skills: Same as the base creature
Feats: Same as the base creature
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature -3
Treasure: None. The damned have no equipment.
Alignment: Always evil